How TSA Can Change Your Business Travel Experience for the Better
If you’re a regular business traveler, the government agency with which you likely have the most face-to-face contact is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Since the agency’s inception in 2001, TSA has been tasked with a difficult but critical job: protecting our country’s transportation systems while processing travelers as efficiently as possible.
However, as evidenced by the long waits and other frustrations flyers encounter at airport security, budgetary and political turmoil have made TSA’s mission far more challenging in recent years. To many frequent travelers, it may seem as though the current state of affairs is here to stay—but both TSA and Congress have the capacity to change your airport screening experience for the better right away.
Stop spending TSA fees on unrelated programs
A 2013 congressional budget compromise bumped the fee for TSA operations from $2.50 per flight leg to $5.60, but the increase was actually slated to cover shortfalls elsewhere in the federal budget; no improvements or expansions of TSA operations were implemented. Under current law, more than one-third of collected airline passenger fees are diverted from the TSA to the General Fund until FY 2025. This means that last year, travelers effectively paid an extra $1.6 billion in fees without seeing any return in the form of better screening. Rather than require travelers to pay for aspects of government completely unrelated to TSA’s mission, Congress should reverse this diversion and allow TSA fees to exclusively fund aviation security improvements.
Expand TSA PreCheck
By the first two Ps, we mean that expanding PreCheck should be a national priority, and the federal government should aggressively promote this excellent program.
Price-wise: at $85 for five years, TSA PreCheck is a fairly cost-effective option for an individual—but it’s prohibitive for some families with children or many companies that would like to cover enrollment for their employees. Fee reductions for children, volume discounts and a subscription model for fees could get large numbers of eligible travelers enrolled.
Modernize TSA’s staffing tools
Armed with these recommendations and more, we aim to show new lawmakers entering Washington next year exactly how they can make good on their campaign trail promises to create jobs by improving TSA and air travel.
It is my sincere hope that you’ll begin to see the fruits of some of these changes not too long after the new Congress and administration begin their work in 2017.